The EU competitions commission decides not to investigate the sale of F1 to Liberty

March 3, 2017 10:58 pm

The EU competitions commission decided on Tuesday to not investigate the sale of Formula 1 to new owners, Liberty Media.

The allegations were from the British MEP Anneliese Dodds on the conflict of interest on the part of the FIA, who profited $79m dollars from the sale of the sport. The FIA owned a 1% stake in Formula1 when CNC were the owners. They are said to have bought their stake for less than $0.5m which Dodds said seems very suspicious.

British MEP Anneliese Dodds

The sale of the sport requires an approval from the FIA, who also own a stake in F1. The FIA defended its position by stating that there was no conflict of interest. They also added that they would only be able to deny the sale if they found that the commercial rights holder would not be able to fulfill their required duties, which was not true in this case.

They said in a statement, “As per the Agreements made in 2001 for 100 Years, the FIA could only have withheld its consent in the event that the change of control would materially alter the ability of the CRH to fulfil its obligations; it is obvious that the taking of control of the Formula One Group by Liberty does not create such a risk, and nobody has ever suggested a different view in this respect.”

Dodds responded with calls for a more detailed and transparent explanation. Dodds is an MEP from southern England where multiple F1 teams are based. She has voiced her opinion multiple times on the improper revenue distribution to the teams, with the top teams getting the bulk of the share.

Despite all these allegations with backing from other MEPs, the EU has decided not to investigate the issue. The European commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager said, “This transaction did not satisfy the turnover thresholds that must be met to fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction.” in a letter to Dodds.

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